How To Get A Smooth Crumb Coat/"dirty Ice"

Decorating By CoinUK Updated 23 Feb 2015 , 4:29pm by Pastrybaglady

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CoinUK Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 1:27am
post #1 of 10

I've been doing cakes for nearly a year now (1 year on Sunday, in fact :) ) and apart from my first cake when I knew no better, I've dirty iced all of them. One thing that frustrates me though, is I can never seem to get it as flat and smooth looking as the pro's do.


Hell, even semi-pro and amateur bakers I see on Youtube seem to get it perfect every time and I was wondering if anyone had any tips or hints, any links to good Youtube vids, links to great websites (other than this one, obviously ;) ) or any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong?

9 replies
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kazita Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 2:08am
post #3 of 10

AHow To Ice A Cake With Straight Sides and Sharp E…:

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ellavanilla Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 8:11am
post #4 of 10

AGetting a smooth crumb coat can be as simple as going over your chilled cake with a bench scraper before you put on the final coat. If you are using IMBC or SMBC the BC is firm. You jus scrape off any bumps and proceed with the finish.

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CoinUK Posted 20 Feb 2015 , 6:33pm
post #5 of 10

Thanks for the tips! :)


I'm thinking my choice of buttercream might be part of the issue. I make just an standard buttercream, just butter and icing sugar with a few spoons of milk to loosen it as needed.


I'm thinking of trying out both Italian and Swiss meringue buttercream as well soon, for frosting cupcakes and inside cakes. Are either of these any better for a crumb coat?


Also, which is the preferred term, Dirty Icing or Crumb Coat? I must admit, I'm a mahoosive fan of Cake Boss and Buddy Valastro, so I tend to call it that by default, but I've seen people get very.......irate with that phrase on some sites! :D

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denetteb Posted 21 Feb 2015 , 7:57pm
post #6 of 10

I call it crumb coating, but then I don't have cable and the only two clips of Buddy's show turned me off so badly that I would never have a desire to watch again.  Do you want your customers or friends to hear you use the term dirty ice?  What would they think of if they heard the term?  It seems a little unsanitary or ***y if you were just hearing the term without being a Cake Boss fan.  Crumb coating seems more neutral to a cake muggle I would think.   Your problem may simply be the thickness of the icing you are crumb coating with.  I like it a little softer, you want it to spread smoothly and easily and not tear or pull at the icing.  Try adding a little more milk to the icing you are trying to crumb coat/dirty ice with and see if that helps.

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CoinUK Posted 23 Feb 2015 , 3:53pm
post #7 of 10

Heh, I can see what you mean there :)


I've always called it that and tbh, I don't really use that phrase with anyone other than my wife as I'm just a keen amateur home baker anyway,


Besides, Buddy amazes me with every cake he does so I find I use a lot of terminology from his show. I've watched a lot of Ace Of Cakes as well now so it's drifting towards crumb coat :D

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denetteb Posted 23 Feb 2015 , 4:05pm
post #8 of 10

I have never seen a whole show and never seen him decorate, maybe I would like him then.  I saw two clips.  One was where a wedding cake was all white and the bride came in to inspect it and was livid that it was all white when it was supposed to be colorful.  Buddy went to check the order and left the bride in a room with bags of icing.  She then proceeded to ruin the cake by blobbing all kinds of colored icing on top of it.  It was such an obvious set up and I hate to see peoples bad behavior being seen as acceptable that I found it a huge turn off.  The other clip was some employees were bringing in big bags of flour.  Buddy was all pissy about it and then someone dropped a bag and there was flour flying everywhere followed by all sorts of yelling.  Again, it seemed like a made up drama which I dislike.  If I had seen actual cake decorating I would probably have a totally different opinion.  I rarely see cable so don't have occasion to watch much.  I have seen and enjoyed Ace of Cakes.  I know they get flack for being overpriced, questionably sanitary and not tasty but I enjoyed watching the design and construction aspects, how they put things together and some of the delivery challenges with such  large cakes.  They also seemed like fun people to watch and work around.  I am a hobbyist as well, but stick to buttercream so I admire the fondant work but have no interest in getting into it myself.  If you are really getting into decorating you might want to play around with some different buttercream recipes, unless yours works fine for the actual decorating part with the only problem being the crumb coat.  Add a little extra liquid next time and let me know how it works.

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CoinUK Posted 23 Feb 2015 , 4:11pm
post #9 of 10

Oh there is definitely an aura of setup drama to the show, not as bad as some reality shows, to be fair, but the actual cakes are incredible and his skill is undeniable, especially his piping of drop lines.


This is based on my own meagre knowledge of course, I dare say the experts on here may differ :)


The drama is what sells the show though, as with any show like this. Ace of cakes is great but not as enthralling to watch at times, I find. Still, compared to the Great British Bake Off, it's practically Shakespeare and Buddy is like Michael Bay :D

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Pastrybaglady Posted 23 Feb 2015 , 4:29pm
post #10 of 10

AHi CoinUK. Definitely try SMBC! It is a completely different experience icing a cake with a meringue based icing. The first time I used it I thought, "Wow, this is how they can get it like that!" Then if you chill it to hard and go at it with a bench scraper you will see those perfect 90° angles and straight sides you admire in the pros cakes.


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